Sonny Bill Williams addresses claim Fox Sports exec wanted him looking ‘less Muslim’

The New Arab Staff

28 March, 2022

Taking to Twitter on Monday, the rugby player-turned-boxer responded to the controversy with humour.

Sonny Bill Williams

Sony Bill Williams has often posted on social media about his Muslim faith [Getty]

Former rugby player now boxer Sonny Bill Williams has responded to claims that a senior executive at Fox Sports asked him to trim his beard to play down his Muslim appearance.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, the rugby player turned boxer responded to the controversy with humour.

“Asking me to shave my beard to look more like him [Fox executive] ?? Imagine his thoughts if I could actually grow a decent looking one,” Williams wrote, accompanying his post with the hashtag #AlwaysAlhamdulillah.

The controversy began last week when Williams’ manager spoke of his dealings with an unnamed executive from Fox Sports.

“He [the Fox executive] starts talking about Sonny’s beard and asks me word for word, ‘What can we do with that beard’,” Williams’ long-time manager Khoder Nasser said.

“I did everything I could not to go off my rocker. He is questioning why Sonny looks like a Muslim. There is no bigger insult as far as I am concerned. I told Sonny about it at the time and he was in a state of disbelief that he can have that even brought up,” he added.

The controversy appeared to overshadow Williams’ first-round boxing win over his opponent in the days after the bout.

Williams, 34, converted to Islam in 2009 and was the first Muslim to play for New Zealand’s All Blacks.

The sportsman has often spoken about his faith on social media and has regularly used his platform to highlight issues affecting Muslims around the world.


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